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Guggenheim Museum Visitor Tips

Make the most of your visit to the Guggenheim Museum with these tips


The Guggenheim is a popular museum for fans of modern art and architecture visiting New York City. The Frank Lloyd Wright building that houses the Guggenheim Museum is probably the most famous aspect of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, but visitors will also enjoy exploring the permanent collection and the ever-changing array of exhibitions.

Guggenheim Museum Visitors Guide

1. Know What You'll See When You Visit the Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim museum (New York, USA 2012)
slapers/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
While the Guggenheim Museum has an extensive permanent collection, most of the museum's viewable artwork at any time is from the current exhibitions.

2. Avoid The Crowds at the Guggenheim

With many other New York City museums closed on Mondays, the Guggenheim is particularly crowded on Mondays. If Monday is the best day for you to visit with your schedule, plan to arrive early (as close to 10 a.m. as possible) and you can enjoy the Guggenheim's exhibits and collections before the crowds take over. Saturday evenings, when admission is "Pay What You Wish," are also pretty busy, so plan to finish up before the 5:45 p.m. start of discounted admissions if you want to experience the Guggenheim in relative peace.

3. Save on Admission to the Guggenheim With NYC Museum Passes/Coupons

Check out these options for saving on admission: With the New York Pass and CityPass you should head to the Membership Desk for your ticket, skipping the regular line.

4. Take a Free Tour of the Guggenheim Museum

Tours are included with the cost of museum admission, so take advantage of them. Self-guided audio tours can be picked up in the lobby (or downloaded on your iPhone) and used as you explore on your own. Daily at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. there are free guided tours that lead visitors through the highlights of the Guggenheim's permanent collection as well as current exhibitions. On select Fridays at 2 p.m. curators lead tours of current exhibitions. Throughout the museum, you can find Gallery Guides who are trained to engage with visitors in one-on-one discussions about the art and exhibits. Dressed in black, with colorful scarves/ties and a blue or orange button that says "Ask Me About The Art", they're easy to find throughout the museum.

5. Start at the Top

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Photo by David M. Heald © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
When you visit the Guggenheim Museum, one of the best ways to methodically work your way through the museum is to take the elevator up to the top floor and work your way down the spiral interior while you explore the various exhibitions and galleries along the way. This way, you'll quickly escape the crowds hanging out in the lobby and have gravity working with you as you experience the museum's extensive exhibits and permanent collection.

6. Creature Comforts and Time Savers

Take advantage of the Guggenheim Museum's coatroom to rid yourself of any coats, umbrellas and bags that might be bogging you down once you enter the museum (you'll need to buy your ticket first, because they'll want to see it when you check your items). The coatroom also has wheelchairs available for visitors who might need them, as well as baby carriers for those visiting with small children.

The restrooms located off the main lobby tend to be very crowded, but there are unisex restrooms located throughout the museum, so head upstairs to avoid waiting on a long line to use the facilities.

7. You Can Experience The Guggenheim Museum for Free

The Guggenheim Museum participates in the annual Museum Mile Festival, offering many visitors free admission during the annual street festival held in June. For visitors interested primarily in seeing the building's architecture, you can enter the lobby of the Guggenheim Museum without paying admission, and take a few moments to look up at the unique spiral staircase after having examined the building's exterior. While there, you can check out the Guggenheim Museum Cafe and gift shop without charge. Families will appreciate that children 12 and under are always free!

8. Pay What You Wish on Saturday Nights

Entry to the Guggenheim Museum is by pay-what-you-wish donation on Saturday nights after 5:45 p.m. (the museum closes on Friday nights at 7:45). With the usual price-tag of $22, it's a popular time to visit the Guggenheim, so arrive early and be prepared for crowds.

9. Visiting the Guggenheim Museum with Kids

Children under 12 are admitted free to the Guggenheim Museum with a paying adult. Small strollers are allowed in the galleries, but jogging strollers and double strollers are not. The good news is that the Coatroom offers backpack carriers that you can borrow to use while you visit the museum with your children.

The Guggenheim has put together great resources for families visiting the museum, whether you want to do some preparation for a visit or plan to attend a special family-oriented event. There are fantastic workshops for families with children as young as 3, so check out the offerings that will be available during your visit. Family-centric programming is most frequently offered on the weekends.

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